Draper & Associates was engaged by Auburn University to conduct a review to determine whether an additional building, proposed for the College of Engineering , could be justified at this time in light of projected growth in enrollment, additional program requirements, and proposed demolition of some existing facilities. The University's objective was to validate its investment in the larger facility. This effort was part of a larger initiative to establish a process for identifying, validating, and prioritizing additional requirements for space.
This study was undertaken, in conjunction with the Adams Consulting Group, using information extracted from the 1998 College of Engineering Precinct Plan, developed by specialized consultants contracted by the University, designed to determine current (1997) and projected space needs for the overall College as well as individual departments, and from enrollment, faculty, and research funding data provided by Auburn University Institutional Research and Assessment. Additionally, data regarding national and regional trends in engineering education was collected from a consulting firm specializing in trending engineering education.
The study determined that many engineering discipline enrollments have under performed by comparison to projections in the Precinct Plan. The original Precinct Plan included a four-phased plan of demolition and construction events. Since the acceptance of this plan, the College modified its space planning to incorporate the Transportation Technology Center , Phase I, (TTC I) facility. This facility satisfied some of the original precinct plan, but was a departure with respect to individual departmental space allocation priorities. At the time of the validation study, the College of Engineering was constructing the TTC I - a 194,000 SF facility that would house administrative and faculty offices for a number of departments, classrooms and lecture halls, and teaching and research labs.
The impetus for the facility requirements validation was the proposal to construct an additional building in its Precinct, the Transportation Technology Center , Phase II (TTC II), which would supply significant additional assignable space to the Precinct. That facility was planned to consist of 93,295 ASF, at a potential cost of approximately $58M and would potentially house portions of the Mechanical Engineering Department and General Engineering and Flex Labs. The University wanted to validate whether the College of Engineering required the additional space or whether it was in the best interests of the institution to reallocate to address other requirements.
In an effort to validate the space requirements, Draper collected data points from the years since the original Precinct Plan. In addition, the regional and national trends in engineering enrollment by discipline were considered. Much had changed since the original Precinct Plan, which did not address the new TTC facilities at that time. This general analysis was devoted to enabling senior administration to validate the prioritization of capital expenditures with respect to TTC II. As a result of this validation study, Auburn University went ahead with planned construction of TTC II for the College of Engineering.